Wild weekend for Apico Husqvarna!
Apico Husqvarna set out for a double championship weekend at two of the most iconic tracks the U.K. has to offer, the Revo British Motocross Championship powered by Gulf Fuels at Foxhill on the Saturday and the Michelin MX Nationals at Hawkstone on Sunday.
Images courtesy of Adam Duckworth
Qualifying was in a different order to the previous rounds with MX1 going out first. Stuart enjoyed qualifying and made a season-best 7th at the MXGB in the claggy, tough terrain. Jamie had the advantage of being out for last practice when the track had dried out, though he was unable to get a clean lap in, and with qualifying times within 1 second of each other up to 5th place, it was close and left him with 19th gate pick. Jack put in a strong qualifying performance in the stacked youth class and managed to go 2nd fastest in MXY2 towards the end of his session.
MX1 race 1 got off to a flying start, with Stuart inside the top 4 as he entered the famous sweeping hillsides of the venue. Stuart had said he was not feeling himself and lost a few positions. One rider getting by after Stuart got out of shape and caught in the rut at the end of the start straight. Regardless of this, he pushed on for 7th at the flag. In race 2 Stuart did not get the start, though pushed through overtaking a couple of riders and into the top 10 before running into the back of another rider and going down and then had another going down again. After he had collected himself and restarted in 14th, he made a push and got back into the top 10, though he finished 11th at the flag. A solid 10th overall in a close-run battle with several riders where a single point would have made for 8th. Stuart now lies in 10th place in the MXGB Championship.
MX2 was almost a case of Déjà vu in the first race, with Jamie coming into the bottom of the valley in 6th place before pushing into 5th position on the 2 stroke. He managed to hold the position for a few laps and then made the same mistake as Stuart at the bottom of the start straight in the large rut. This disrupted his rhythm leaving an opening for a train of riders to pass Jamie on the lap before settling into 9th position where he comfortably saw through the rest of the race. In race 2, the last race of the day, Jamie had another top 10 start though got caught out in a rut in the bottom of the valley that removed his chain. Several riders fell foul to the same thing, though Jamie unlike some managed to get his chain back on and climb from 19th back to 13th in a display of perseverance. This gave him 11th overall tied on points to 8th place. Jamie is now 14th in the MX2 Championship.
MXY2 was bittersweet for Jack, he made the start inside the top 5 and had made his way to the front of the pack by the midpoint of the race. It was then disaster struck and Jack went down and remounted in 7th to bring it across the line. Race 2 was easy by comparison. After a great start in 3nd, Jack swiftly made his way on the first lap to 2nd where he rode out the moto. This gave Jack 4th overall on the day narrowly missing the podium and 4th in the MXY2 Championship.
Due to the unusual nature of the weekend, having an MXGB and MX Nationals take place 100 miles apart, the team had no other choice but to miss the first day of the MX Nationals. Saturday we travelled northwards to Hawkstone Park. After setting up again and refilling water tanks in what was a long day, the boys had it all to do again. Jack Lindsay took the decision not to compete as he’d lost too many points in the championship, and with potential further date clashes, and would not ride the event.
Practice was short for the riders who had been to Foxhills. They had their qualifier that was tagged onto the riders who lined up Saturday, which was only fair under the circumstances. Stuart rounded out the Sunday riders’ practice with a 7th and Jamie in 8th.
Although the MX1 & MX2 race together they are scored separately. It was always going to be harder on Sunday after the downpour that night. The track was wet in places and the iconic hill was not being used.
Stuart got out the gate mid-pack and was pushing early, though he could tell something wasn’t right with the bike. Stuart maintained his pace albeit riding at 70% for 10th at the line. It transpired that his rear shock had blown and all the suspension was swapped over ready for the next race. Jamie was just outside the mid-pack and went on to push forward to 2nd place and held the position for most of the race. Jamie being a racer was not giving up on 2nd place and took the battle right to the last lap, with just over a second between him and the 2nd place MX2 rider.
By the last race of the day, Hawkstone had got deep from the weekends riding, making it technical and challenging for the riders. Stuart felt better, though got caught up with a couple of riders who made it had to pass. As a result of the close battle, he managed to use his roll offs and had to remove his goggles. Pushing on in the tough conditions Stuart managed to bring it home for 12th in MX1 on the day. Jamie did not get the start, though was close to the MX2 leader. He, unfortunately, lost some ground on the lead due to a few slower MX1 riders. He managed to keep riding his race on the brutal track and took it to the line where he just missed recapturing 2nd place for a brace of 3rd places over the weekend and 3rd overall on the day.
Dylan: “What a weekend, and one I wouldn’t want to do again if the truth is told! Foxhill was very good, with great performances from all 3 riders in their respective first races. Stuart showed why Foxhill is one of his favourite tracks and even though he didn’t feel comfortable in the race, managed one of his best results of the year. Stuart was unlucky in race 2 and didn’t feel himself all weekend, though still managed 11th at the line. He’s now 10th in the MX1 MXGB Championship.
Jamie had a fantastic start to the first race and finished the highest placed 2 Stroke rider. He showed experience and perseverance in the second race too after slipping the chain and making places back to 13th for 11th overall and 14th in the Championship. Jack was a little unlucky after doing the hard work in the first race, though has shown maturity and good judgement with his racing. He was 4th overall and is now 4th in the MXY2 Championship.
After losing points from Saturday and having to qualify separately at the Michelin MX Nationals on Sunday, it was always going to be tough to get a decent overall result for both riders. With Stuart and Jamie riding well on Saturday at Foxhills and Hawkstone being a different track without the rain, Sunday could have been a different story had both days been raced. Regardless, what’s done is done results-wise, we’ll take 14th overall for Stuart and 6th overall for Jamie. They are both now 10th and 6th overall in their respective classes.
I do feel for the Michelin MX Nationals organisers. They had the date first and then MXGB changing to the same weekend made it hard on the teams and riders in deciding what to do. We have had a lot of deliberation within the team, though in the end, we left the decision with the riders to say where they wanted to race.
Personally, I do not think this is fair on the team members or the riders. If it happens again, I can see our team having to split or go to one of the championships. Removing myself from the team scenario and looking at it as a distributor and sponsor, the long-term effects of this kind of actions if it was to happen again would not be good for the future of the sport. We need 2 major championships for Pro Riders in a year to make sponsorship work. Teams and riders are effectively the Apico brand and our distributed brands shop window. I’ll leave it for you to decide what happens if a Championship such as the MX Nationals no longer had a Pro Class going into 2022”.